May 21, 2012
BEAUMONT, Texas -
Lamar University is sending six athletes to the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Preliminary Championships set for Thursday through Saturday at the University of Texas in Austin.
Tom Wade and twin brother Joe Wade will compete in the men's 3,000-meter steeplechase, Sam Stabler will compete in the men's 1,500 meters, Andy Fontenot represents Lamar in the men's long jump, Beatrice Douglas will compete in the women's long jump and Ashley Idunoba will run in the women's 100 and 200 meters.
The top 12 finishers in each event advance to the NCAA Championships set for June 6-9 in Des Moines, Iowa.
"I think all six have a chance to advance to Des Moines," Lamar coach Trey Clark said. "Everybody is performing at their best right now. Anything can happen."
The Wades, who graduated on Saturday with degrees in kinesiology, will head back to England after the NCAAs. They're hoping it won't be until each travels to Des Moines.
Tom Wade is seeded fourth in the West Region in the steeplechase based on his best time of 8 minutes, 43.26 seconds. Joe Wade Is seeded 21st after winning the Southland Conference title in 8:54.70, more than four seconds ahead of the nearest competitor. Tom Wade did not compete in the steeplechase at the Southland Conference Championships.
"We help each other all the time," said Tom Wade, who earned honorable mention All-American status in the steeplechase last year. "We're not competitive with each other. We want each other to do well."
, who won the Southland Conference crown in the steeplechase despite being hampered by a leg injury, is confident about his chances.
"I'm feeling good now," Joe Wade said. "I know I can turn in a good performance."
Stabler, a freshman, is seeded 46th in the 1,500 meters, with a best time of 3:46.87.
"I'm excited about the chance to compete in the NCAA meet," Stabler said. "I've never been to anything like this. It should be a great experience."
Fontenot, a freshman whose best long jump was 7.19 meters (23 feet, 7.25 inches), was a late addition to the NCAAs after some qualifiers pulled out of the event.
"Andy has continued to improve throughout the season," Clark said. "I am glad he has the opportunity to go."
On the women's side, Idunoba is seeded 10th in the 200 meters after setting a school record of 23.40 seconds at the Southland Conference Championships.
"Setting the record was one of my goals this year," Idunoba said. "I knew I won the race, but I didn't have any idea I had broken the record until Coach Clark told me."
Idunoba, who is heading to the NCAAs for the third straight year, is seeded 24th in the 100 meters at 11.56 seconds.
"I will run in the 100 first, and I hope that will get me ready for the 200, which is my best event," Idunoba said. "I know what to expect, and I'm expecting more from myself this year. I want to get to the finals."
Douglas, a sophomore, is making her first trip to the NCAAs. She is seeded 24th in the women's long jump at 6.02 meters (19-9).
"I am excited. This is my first time going to anything like this," Douglas said. "The experience is nice, but I am going there hoping to win."
The men's long jump competition is set for 1 p.m. Thursday. The preliminaries for the men's 1,500 meters are slated for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, with the second round at 6:30 p.m. Saturday. The men's steeplechase is set to get under way at 8:50 p.m. Friday.
The women's long jump will start at 5:30 p.m. Thursday. The first round of the women's 100 meters is at 6:55 p.m. Friday, with the second round at 6:45 p.m. Friday. The first round of the women's 200 meters is at 8:25 p.m. Friday, with the second round at 7:50 p.m. Saturday.
Tickets are $10 per day for adults, or $25 for a three-day pass. Youth (17 and younger) and senior tickets are $7 per day, or $20 for a three-day pass. Tickets are available at TexasBoxOffice.com or by calling (512) 471-3333.